Several trails near Whistler's Alpine neighbourhood will stay closed for the next month after a cougar encounter.
"On September 30, the Conservation Officer Service received report a cougar approached a hiker from behind crouching low and exhibiting stalking behaviour, on the Skywalk South Trail," the Resort Municipality of Whistler said on its website.
"The hiker hazed the cougar by throwing stones, as it approached to approximately 20 feet. The cougar was not initially phased, but eventually backed off."
As a result, part of the trail system above the Alpine neighbourhood will be closed for one month, including:
- New View
- Rainbow-Flank North
- 19 Mile Creek
- Rick’s Roast
- Cat Scratch Fever
- Green Monster
- Skywalk South
The closure comes almost exactly one month after a different cougar encounter closed several trails in the same area.
In that instance, the animal knocked a mountain biker off his bike, according to the COS.
All other trails are open, though the RMOW advises people to be cautious, and consider carrying bear spray when using alpine trails.
"It is important to keep all pets on leash when using these trails and small children should be kept close by," the RMOW said.
If you encounter a cougar you should:
1. Stay calm and keep the cougar in view.
2. Pick up children immediately—children frighten easily and the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack.
3. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
4. Never run or turn your back on a cougar. Sudden movement may provoke an attack.
5. If you have bear spray this can be used in the event of a cougar attack.
Report sightings of cougars to the Conservation Officer Service at: 1-877-952-7277.